Category Archives: Presentations

Sketchnotes, Doodles and Visual Thinking Jam – #GaETC2014

Jill Gough (@jgough) and Shelley Paul (@lottascales) are facilitating a session entitled Sketchnotes, Doodles & Visual Thinking Jam at the  Georgia Educational Technology Conference.

The provocation:

How might we incorporate symbols and doodles (“on paper” and digitally) in order to better express ideas, and summarize/synthesize our learning and reflections? How might notetaking become more personal, visual, brain-compatible and shareable across networks? Come join an introduction, conversation, exploration and practice session to learn and share about the “doodle revolution” and how we might grow ourselves and our learners through visual thinking?

The plan:

The norms:

  • I can talk about what I know, and I can talk about what I don’t know.
  • I can be brave, vulnerable, kind, and considerate to myself and others while learning.
  • I can learn from mistakes, and I can celebrate what I thought before and now know.

The slide deck:

The sketchbook handout:


The reflection:  Connect, Extend, Challenge

    • How do these ideas connect to what you already know?
    • What new ideas did you get that extend or push your thinking in new directions?
    • What is now a challenge for you to get your mind around? What questions, wonderings, and puzzles do you now have?

[Cross posted on Finding the Signal]

Visual Note Taking – Join the Doodle Revolution, #GISAConference

Jill Gough (@jgough) and Shelley Paul (@lottascales) are facilitating a session entitled Visual Note Taking – Join the Doodle Revolution at the 2014 Georgia Independent School Association (GISA) conference.

The provocation:

How might note taking become more active, personal, brain-compatible and shareable? How might we incorporate symbols and doodles to improve listening, better express ideas, summarize/synthesize learning and make connections? Join a conversation and practice session to explore how we might grow ourselves and our learners through doodling and visual thinking.

The plan:

The norms:

  • I can talk about what I know, and I can talk about what I don’t know.
  • I can be brave, vulnerable, kind, and considerate to myself and others while learning.
  • I can learn from mistakes, and I can celebrate what I thought before and now know.

The slide deck:

The sketchbook handout:


The reflection:  Connect, Extend, Challenge

    • How do these ideas connect to what you already know?
    • What new ideas did you get that extend or push your thinking in new directions?
    • What is now a challenge for you to get your mind around? What questions, wonderings, and puzzles do you now have?

[Cross posted on Finding the Signal]

Calculus and the Art of Questioning – #NspiredatT3

It falls in the category of “ask; don’t tell.” We used to think that kids needed carefully scaffolded, guided learning experiences. We now think learners need opportunities to explore, ask what if, and test their ideas instead of us telling them what to think and do. We know there needs to be a balance of both.

What if we offered Calculus students a TI-Nspire™ document to explore and develop questions and hypotheses? What if we used student questions to develop a path to learning? Can we lead learning by following student questions?

In The Falconer; What We Wish We Had Learned in School, Grant Lichtman writes:

Good teachers ensure that their students learn the subject material to an acceptable or superior level. Great teachers all do one thing well: they create dissonance in the minds of their students and guide them in the resolution of that dissonance.

In another of our the T³ International Conference presentations in Las Vegas, Sam and I are going to share our thinking, our documents, and our ideas about creating dissonance and offering learners the opportunity to ask questions and investigate first.

Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 9.54.19 AM

Here are the files we are using as starters for this conversation (We learn and share; download these Nspire files from our Dropbox. Each screenshot is hyperlinked to the corresponding file if you just want one or two.):

03-07-2014 Image001 03-07-2014 Image002 03-07-2014 Image003 03-07-2014 Image004 03-07-2014 Image005 03-07-2014 Image006

We’d love your feedback and your questions.  We’d also love to know if you try this with learners.

Developing a Virtual Learning Community – #T3Learns session

How might we stay connected, offer additional ideas, and share experiences with others? What if we leverage social media tools? How might we continue to lead learning without stretching ourselves too thin? How might we continue to contribute to our learning community when we are apart? How might we be more intentional in PD sessions to foster continued learning? What if we explore effective use of tools to develop and maintain connectedness and build learning communities? Will we learn and share?

Jeff McCalla, @jmccalla1 and Confessions of a Wannabe Super Teacher, and I facilitated a session for T3 instructors on building and maintaining learning communites to learn, share, and support learning.  Our lesson design, strategies, and resources are shared on the Developing a Virtual Learning Community Google doc.  We were charged with the responsibility to lead a session for T³ instructors to  brainstorm and share useful strategies to connect and learn from and with others. At the end of this session, our community should be able to say:

    • I can contribute to learning communities both face-to-face and virtually.
    • I can use social media to connect with fellow T3 instructors before , during, and after PD.
    • I can use social media to connect with participants before, during, and after our PD.

We ran 4 sessions today – all very different.  Jeff is a master of the art of questioning. He guided the discussion and connected to the learning plan while accommodating the learners in the room.  At each session we answered questions concerning the how and why of Twitter and blogging. His blog post What Super-power do you want? offered a grounding story for our discussion.  (Read comments by Bo and Jill to learn more.)

Here are snippets of our conversations, learning, and questions.

Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 7.37.47 AM Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 7.37.47 AM Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 7.38.13 AM Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 7.38.33 AM Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 7.41.53 AM


#EduCon #MartinConnects #LL2LU to 8 sites

How might we learn and grow together when we are far apart? What if we leverage the power of connectedness and social media to learn and share?

Shelley Paul and I presented Leading Learners to Level Up at EduCon. Working in collaboration with Grant Lichtman of The Martin Institute for Teaching Excellence, SLA broadcast our session live to 7 additional sites across the country.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We generally followed the plan shown below.

We loved using Flickr to share our low-fidelity drafts across sites.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Here’s one comment from feedback collected at the end of the session. I appreciate all of the learning that was acknowledged.

  1. I had not sent a picture to Flickr before.
  2. I had not got into Wi-Fi before on the iPad.
  3. I like the “I can” statements for giving feedback to students.
  4. I appreciated connecting with other teachers in the room to know what they are doing.
  5. I thought the story about playing basketball was effective in helping us see that kids may not be getting what we are teaching.
  6. The people around the room from Parish were very helpful when I had technical questions.

Unfortunately hearing the online presentation was difficult, and we could not see what the presenter was talking about on the screen online.

The workshop was beneficial despite its drawbacks.

As always, here is the full set of feedback offered at the end of the session.

#MICON13: Honoring our Learning Philosophy Through Learning Reports, Is It About Learning and Progress, or Grades

Do our report cards serve our learners? Do our reports of progress communicate in ways that leverage the current tools at our disposal? Do we report and celebrate with communication techniques that have design, images, and artifacts of learning? What if we model and practice communication with and for our learners the way the world currently communicates?

What small shift can we make in our current practices to model communication in 2013?

Reflect and dream big while also taking small, or not-so-small steps to plan on how to move a classroom or a school to dynamically describe, document, report, and celebrate learning. How might we honor and leverage current cultural buzzwords and Eduspeak – risk-taking, failure, personalizing learning, design-thinking, grit, and authentically make these concepts part of our learning report for each child?  At the end of this session, you should be able to say

        • I can think about and discuss how to report progress, learning, and growth in 2013.
        • I can facilitate a conversation at my school about our learning philosophy or our grading philosophy and what is important in our community.

Learning Progression (120 minutes):

15 mins
Quick write and share, see below
10 mins
Snapshots of other feedback options – don’t be constrained by our current norm
25 mins
Using the provided whiteboards, draw, write, design, etc. the ideal progress report considering the child at the center, families needing feedback, and   teacher workflow.
05 mins
Share with another group.  If you’d like to share your ideation digitally, take a photo of your work and email it to
15 mins
Gallery Walk to view all ideas – feedback and questions (see below)
15 mins
Think, pair, share: In 2013, what should be included in a progress report?
10 mins
Progress Report Ideation – 3 distilled ideas
15 mins
Next steps…

Quick write and Share:

Individually respond to the following prompts – digital copy if you want to share

  • Bright spots from current practices in progress reporting:  What are some positives about our current progress reports?
  • Wish list for progress reporting:  What changes would make the progress report more personalized and put the child at the center?
  • Anything else?  Knowing that progress reports are an important connection between home and school, what would be in a progress report that is a joy to report (for teachers) and read (for families) rather than a stress?

Gallery Walk

Think, pair, share:

  • In 2013, what should be in the next iteration of our progress report?
    Note: Let’s talk about what we should do, not what we are doing. Let’s talk about what will best serve our children and their families, not what we like and don’t like.

#MICON13: Leading Learners to Level Up – or Ask; Don’t Tell

How might we design assessments that teach, support questioning, and motivate learning?  How might we bright spot or highlight what learners know rather than what they do not know? What if we design and transform assessments, non-graded assessments, to offer learners a path to “level up” in their learning?

#MICON13: Leading Learners to Level Up – or Ask; Don’t Tell

“Questions are the way points on the path of wisdom.” ~ Grant Lichtman. This session will focus on the art of questioning as a formative assessment tool. Work on becoming a falconer…leading your learners to level up through questions rather than lectures. Come prepared to develop formative assessment strategies and documents to share with learners to help them calibrate their understanding and decode their struggles. Be prepared to share your assessments with others for feedback and suggestions.

Foundational ideas:

By learning to insert feedback loops into our thought, questioning, and decision-making process, we increase the chance of staying on our desired path. Or, if the path needs to be modified, our midcourse corrections become less dramatic and disruptive. (Lichtman, 49 pag.)

But there are many more subtle barriers to communication as well, and if we cannot, or do not chose to overcome these barriers, we will encounter life decisions and try to solve problems and do a lot of falconing all by ourselves with little, if any, success. Even in the briefest of communications, people develop and share common models that allow them to communicate effectively.  If you don’t share the model, you can’t communicate. If you can’t communicate, you can’t teach, learn, lead, or follow.  (Lichtman, 32 pag.)

If we want to support students in learning, and we believe that learning is a product of thinking, then we need to be clear about what we are trying to support. (Ritchhart, Church, and Morrison, 5 pag.)

In order to engage in high-quality assessment, teachers need to first identify specific learning targets and then to know whether the targets are asking students to demonstrate their knowledge, reasoning skills, performance skills, or ability to create a quality product.   The teacher must also understand what it will take for students to become masters of the learning targets.  It is not enough that the teacher knows where students are headed; the students must also know where they are headed, and both the teacher and the students must be moving in the same direction.  (Conzemius and O’Neill,  66 pag.)

If you are a teacher in a district with conventional report cards, you can still use the two grading principles that honor the commitment to learning: (1) assign grades that reflect student achievement of intended learning outcomes, and (2) adopt grading policies that support and motivate student effort and learning.  You can do this by clearly communicating your ‘standards’ (in the sense of expectations for work quality) to students and grading on that basis. (Brookhart, 23 pag.)

The idea of using formative assessment for practice work and not taking a summative grade until students have had the opportunity to learn the knowledge and skills for which you are holding them accountable can be applied directly to your classroom assessments in a traditional grading context. (Brookhart, 24 pag.)

We want more students to experience the burst of energy that comes from asking questions that lead to making new connections, feel a greater sense of urgency to seek answers to questions on their own, and reap the satisfaction of actually understanding more deeply the subject matter as a result of the questions they asked.  (Rothstein and Santana, 151 pag.)

The excitement of learning, the compelling personal drive to take one more step on the path towards wisdom, comes when we try to solve a problem we want to solve, when we want to solve, when we see a challenge and say yes, I can meet it.  Great teachers lead us just far enough down a path so we can challenge for ourselves. They provide us just enough insight so we can work toward a solution that makes us, makes me want to jump up and shout out the solution to the world, makes me want to step to the next higher level. Great teachers somehow make us want to ask the questions that they want us to answer, overcome the challenge that they, because they are our teacher, believe we need to overcome. (Lichtman, 20 pag.)

Session structure (120 minutes):

15 mins      Introductions – who we are, what if we explore and prototype
15 mins      Ignite (ish) and challenge
30 mins     Ideation and prototype 1
15 mins      Small group feedback with Q&A
20 mins     Prototype 2 refined from feedback
20 mins     Share session
05 mins     Wrap up and conclusions

Examples of works in progress:


Resources cited:

Brookhart, Susan M. Grading and Learning: Practices That Support Student Achievement. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree, 2011. Print

Conzemius, Anne; O’Neill, Jan. The Power of SMART Goals: Using Goals to Improve Student Learning. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree, 2006. Print.

Lichtman, Grant, and Sunzi. The Falconer: What We Wish We Had Learned in School. New York: IUniverse, 2008. Print.

Ritchhart, Ron, Mark Church, and Karin Morrison. Making Thinking Visible: How to Promote Engagement, Understanding, and Independence for All Learners. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2011. Print.

Rothstein, Dan, and Luz Santana. Make Just One Change: Teach Students to Ask Their Own Questions. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education, 2011. Print.